The African Union (AU) Commission calls on Member States to expedite the evacuation and return of their respective stranded citizens in Libya after the death of 57 of African nationals off the coast of Al-Khums in Libya.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea,” AU said in a statement on Thursday.

The AU reiterated its commitment to supporting Libya and AU Member States in finding durable solutions to forced displacement and illegal migration in the continent, and to ensure such tragedies do not happen.

The AU Commission called on the International Community, in particular: the European Union and IOM, to take responsibility and to support it to ensure that human lives are protected.

"With the support of the African Union Liaison Office for Libya, the Commission will continue to work with the AU-EU-UN Task Force on Libya which managed to return and integrate more than 50,000 African migrants under their tripartite Humanitarian Return Programme." the AU Commission said in a statement.

More than a million Sub-Saharan Africans are believed to have moved to Europe Since 2010 while tens of thousands others have drowned in Mediterranean Sea during the same period.

IOM said last Tuesday that 970 illegal immigrants died in the Mediterranean since the start of 2021, while an IOM spokesman said that at least 57 immigrants drowned off Al-Khums coast last Sunday. 18 others were rescued by fishermen. Among the drowned immigrants, there were 20 women and two children.